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BBC News article about upcoming Coldingham dig

The BBC News website today ran a story about the upcoming dig at Coldingham to try to find the lost 7th century Anglo-Saxon monastery. Archaeological crowdfunding specialists DigVentures are still seeking public support. You can back the project at various levels, allowing you to get involved in various ways, from following the dig progress online right up to even taking part in the excavation on site yourself.

Theft from a Coldingham shop in 1740

Looking through some of the earlier newspapers in the British Newspaper Archive I just found this report of a theft at Coldingham in 1740. It was reported in the Caledonian Mercury of 5 February 1741.

Whereas upon Friday Night betwixt the 19th and 20th of December last, the Shop of Thomas Anderson Merchant in Coldingham was broke, and the following Merchant Goods, viz. English Chacks, Cotton Napkins, Stockings and Cambricks of several sorts, Linnen, Blue, Green and Brown Camblet Stuffs, and a great many other Goods and Ware of Considerable Value, and 20 L. Sterl. In Cash, with a Pocket-book and 10 L. In Bank Notes, and several Papers and Accompts therein, stoln [sic] out of the said Shop; Whoever will discover the Person or Persons guilty of the said Theft, or Art and Part therein, in as he, she or they be thereof lawfully convicted, such Person is hereby entitled to, and shall receive from the said Thomas Anderson a Reward of Four Guineas; And any Person who will inform where the said Goods, Money or Notes, or any Parcel of the said Goods, are lodged, shall receive Two Guineas Reward, and no Questions asked.

At this time “merchant” in Scotland could mean an importer/exporter, but more usually meant a small shopkeeper. Often they sold a variety of goods: cloths, everyday items such as buttons, tea and sugar etc. But in this case it looks as though Thomas Anderson in Coldingham may have specialised more than usual.

DigVentures asking public where they should dig at Coldingham

DigVentures are returning to Coldingham to dig in summer 2018, and are currently asking the public to take part in the decision making over where exactly to place their trenches. They are considering six locations for possible trenches. To find out more and to cast your votes see here.

DigVentures back at Coldingham in 2018

Last year crowdsourcing archaeology initiative DigVentures were at Coldingham, investigating the history of the Priory.

They are returning to the site in summer 2018, and are currently advertising for supporters. Depending on the level of support you can follow the dig online, or even participate as a digger on the spot. See their website for full details.

Coldingham Abbey 1592 household account

Dr Michael Pearce, historian of Scottish furniture and furnishings in the early modern period, recently discovered a household account book for Coldingham Abbey in 1592, covering the time when Lord and Lady Home were staying there.

It is a fascinating record, covering issues as varied as the furnishings and structural changes made to the property for the couple’s stay, food and drink supplied to them, and payments to various servants.

Many local people are recorded in this document, including brewers, carpenters, and various servants employed by the family.

Michael has blogged in detail about this document, and I strongly recommend that people interested in Coldingham history read this.

A New Year Brownies party at Coldingham in 1945

I thought I’d look to see if I could find anything nice in the old papers in the British Newspaper Archive for Coldingham New Years in the past. And I found this report in the Berwick Advertiser on 18th January 1945:

The 1st Coldingham and St Abbs Brownies had a New Year’s tea party in the Parish Room. The games and dancing helped to spend an enjoyable time. The expenses were raised by the Brownies’ Christmas bazaar with the two Santas during December.

Goals for my Coldingham one-place study in 2018

Looking ahead to the New Year I thought I’d jot down things that I’d like to tackle in this area in the next 12 months.

Now that I have a new website for the one-place study which I’m happy with the focus is on adding more content, both transcripts and indexes, and interesting new blog posts.

I’d like, for example, to add 1700-1709 to my lists of surnames per address in Coldingham parish.

Another priority is to focus on kirk session minutes, indexing interesting references, for example cases of fornication and illegitimate births.

My Coldingham WW1 servicemen and women project is still ongoing, with new material to be added online soon.

I have lots of ideas for new blog posts to add, about interesting people, places and events.

I’d also like to blog more about unusual sources. For example I’ve previously indexed Coldingham parish testimonials (ie migrants) between 1710 and 1744, and should blog more about that sometime.

Many ideas anyway. Looking forward to it!